Educational Outreach

Saturday, May 12th, 1:30 p.m.
Solar Gardens Workshop

Where: First Unitarian Church, 3314 Harney Street

What: Note from Brice Miller, Organizer & Leader of the Solar Gardens Project:

"Joy Hughes, Founder and Director of Solar Gardens.Org, is excited to share her knowledge and experience with our CoOp at the workshop on May 12th. She has helped communities in Iowa, California, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Oregon, which makes me think her expertise and knowledge could be a major asset for us.

Along with billing integration software, she also provides help with community organizing, training, financial modeling, finding grant money, working with installers for long-term operations management, site location, contracting with OPPD, and setting up a power purchase agreement if necessary. Although we have a somewhat unique situation in Omaha with public power, Joy has a lot of experience dealing with utility companies and what motivates them to embrace community solar gardens. I think Joy will be surprised with how organized and networked within our community we already are.

Again, I feel strongly that if we can create a benefit for OPPD to include community solar in their long-term strategy, our idea has the potential to spread rapidly."

To learn more about Solar Gardens, visit:

Tuesday, May 1st - 12:00 to 8:00 pm
Open House: May Day Event (6th Annual)

Where: Concrete Earth-Sheltered Home and Earth-Sheltered Community Garden at 4510 and 4511 and 4515 and 4538 N 65 Ave, Omaha, NE

What: Visit the Earth-Sheltered Community Garden, a living space for development of produce to eat and people to meet.

Saturday, April 28th at 1 p.m.
Solar greenhouse tour and discussion

Where: Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd & Sorensen Parkway (second right north of Sorensen)

What: MCC's greenhouse solar system was the first to be built in Nebraska and the only of its kind among community colleges nationwide. Students assisted with assembly of the eight-panel system, water tank and radiant tubing as part of MCC's hands-on classes on solar energy and technology. More workshops are scheduled for the new solar lab attached to the greenhouse in solar air, water and electric systems.

The technology used in MCC's greenhouse system is readily transferable to greenhouses and hot houses across the state for bedding plants and vegetable crops, providing greenhouse growers year-round crops with little or no heating costs.

For more information, contact Michael Shonka: mshonka [at] mcc [dot] edu

Tuesday, March 6, 2012: 7pm
Speaker: ISU's Ulrike Passe

Who: Ulrike Passe
Iowa State University
Architecture Department
Principle Investigator: Interlock House
Solar Decathlon 2009

Where: Security National Bank
1120 South 101st Street
Omaha, NE 68124-1967

When: March 6th 2012 7pm

What: Ulrike Passe was the Principle Investigator and facility advisor for the Iowa State 2009 solar decathlon home: Interlock House. The Interlock House features a passive design which also incorporates active systems such as photovoltaic electricity generation and solar thermal energy collection/distribution.

The solar panels on the roof produce electricity for the lights and appliances. A sun space produces thermal energy. And, radiant floor heating is provided by excess solar hot water generated for the house. ISU Professor Ulrike Passe says, "Over the year the house will produce the amount of energy it uses. Not always at the same time, but in general."

Ulrike Passe will give an informal presentation concerning the overall design of the Interlock house as well as a "first impression fresh from the data logger of the energy performance of the interlock house."

Thursday, February 9, 2012: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Speaker: Michael Shonka presenting on behalf of NSES

Where: Neighborhood Center (115 S. 49th Ave. Omaha, NE)

What: The Green Neighborhood Council (GNC) and the Nebraska Solar Energy Society are co-sponsoring a roundtable discussion on the steps involved in forming a solar-buying co-op. Come discuss what other cities have done or are doing and the lessons learned, the benefits to homeowners and our community, 2012 tax credits and incentives, installation options besides our roofs, and how other co-ops have selected installers. Solar buying co-ops provide homeowners access to easy and affordable installation of solar energy systems through bulk purchase discounts, tax credits and incentives. Educational and practical workshops to reduce the complexity of making a solar purchase are another benefit. A solar-buying co-op is, essentially, a "support group" for all who are interested in "going solar" and learning from one another and from community experts how to make an informed, cost-effective purchase. Residents who already have had PV or solar hot water systems installed are also invited to come and share what you have learned. Initially, Solarize Portland ( and Minnesota's Make Mine Solar H20 ( will be used as model co-ops, and The Solarize Guidebook ( will help outline and focus the discussion. Free Books: A free green book will be given to the first 50 attendees. Questions? Suggestions? Email Helen Deffenbacher, GNC co-chair and workshops coordinator, at hdeffenbacher [at] cox [dot] net.


Annual Outreach Archives

2011 Outreach
2010 Outreach
2009 Outreach

2010 NSES Sponsors:

Corporate Sponsor(s):

2009 Sponsors:

Corporate Sponsors:

  • Maverick Productions, UNO
  • NASA Nebraska Space Grant
  • Contrivium Design + Urbanism
  • EV World
  • Nebraska Renewable Energy Sources

Contributing Sponsors:

  • USGBC Flatwater Chapter
  • Lewis Pinch
  • Russell and Jetty Rabeler
  • Olsson Associates
  • Windrow Energies, LLC
  • Nebraska Renewable Energy Association
  • Solar Heat and Electric
  • Focus Energy Group